Israeli tanks and aircraft hit targets in southern and central Gaza on Sunday and there were fierce gun battles in some areas as the war reached 100 days since the Oct. 7 attack led by gunmen from the Islamist Hamas movement.
Communications and internet services were down for the third day running, complicating the work of emergency and ambulance crews trying to help people in areas hit by fighting.
The clashes were concentrated in the southern city of Khan Younis, where Hamas said its fighters hit an Israeli tank, as well as in Al-Bureij and Al Maghazi in central Gaza, where the military said several fighters were killed.
Hamas’ armed wing spokesman, Abu Ubaida, said on Sunday the fate of many Israeli hostages captured on Oct. 7 has become unknown.
In his first televised appearance for several weeks, marking the 100th day since the outbreak of the war, he said many of the hostages “may have been killed”, blaming their fate on Israel.’
Hamas showed it retained rocketry capacity, launching a fresh salvo on Sunday at Ashdod, an Israeli town 40 km (25 miles) away. There was no word of any casualties.
Abu Ubaida said the group had been told by “several parties in the resistance fronts that they will expand their strikes on the Israeli enemy in the coming days.”
The Israeli military said it destroyed several silos used by Hamas to fire missiles at Israel.
Over the past 24 hours, the Gaza health ministry said 125 people had been killed and 265 wounded, bringing the total number confirmed to have been killed since the start of the war to almost 24,000, with more than 60,000 wounded.
Israel’s military said it has killed around 9,000 Palestinian fighters, and lost 189 soldiers, in the Gaza war so far.
Speaking through video link to a conference in Istanbul, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh praised the Oct. 7 attack by the group’s fighters who rampaged through Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,200 people and seizing around 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
The Iranian-backed group is sworn to Israel’s destruction.